The Chinese Collection contains over 500 rare printed books, dating from the Ming dynasty to 19th-century Qing China, smaller quantities of manuscript material and approximately 1,000 watercolour paintings, mostly 18th- and 19th-century, depicting many aspects of Chinese society. In recent years we have undertaken a number of projects to improve access to the Crawford Chinese Collection (purchased by Enriqueta Rylands in 1901) and the University Collections (donated by the daughter of E. H. Parker, first Manchester Professor of Chinese).
We are now pleased to launch this week both a physical exhibition and digital collection displaying some of the highlights from the collection, especially focussed on the Qing dynasty era.
The Qing 清 (1636-1912), China’s last dynasty, existed for nearly three centuries. Qing emperors ruled a vast realm that was a blend of different religions and cultures. Qing books reflect the diversity of the empire and reveal global connections made through trade, diplomacy and idea exchange.
Through books, scrolls and artworks from our Chinese collections, we explore the languages and cultures of the Qing empire through new research funded by The University of Manchester, with support from the Confucius Institute. Qing: China’s Multilingual Empire is open to visit in person until 13 March 2022.
To coincide with the physical exhibition we also launched this week a new Chinese digital collection on Manchester Digital Collections. The highlighted items represent many aspects of Chinese culture presented in a variety of forms including small cheap print, printed scrolls, paintings on pith and bodhi leaves, and European influenced engravings.
Over the next few months we will highlight some of the most significant items in the collection, now digitised and described in detail for the first time.